April Flores is Director of Consumer Insights in the corporate Consumer Marketing group at Penguin Random House
What are some of your job responsibilities?
My team works with publishers to identify key insights about our consumers demographics, reading motivations, habits, discovery, attitudes, and more and help translate those insights into actions across marketing, publicity, editorial. We analyze data from across the spectrum (survey data, search, sales, social listening, and more) and really center readers at the core of what we do.
How did the classes you took during your time in the program prepare you to work in the industry?
The best part about the classes was the breadth of the publishing world that you got to experience. My first publishing gig was in publicity at Random House, and having the foundational knowledge about book sales, marketing, editorial, and production from classes made me a better employee overall. I was able to really understand processes and needs of my colleagues upfront, things that would have taken time to develop on the job.
What were some of the highlights during your graduate experience?
I loved the hands-on work and group projects. I had fun experiences trying to create proposals and mockups of brand-new magazines, creating a website from scratch for an author, creating sales and marketing sell sheets. Also, straight out of undergrad I worked for a newspaper in upstate NY and still had strong ties to journalism, so I was grateful to be able to take classes about magazine writing (shout out to Professor Denolyn Carroll; I was able to reconnect with her at a Pace Student/Alumni Appreciation Dinner, which was great).
Did you have an internship? If so, what was it and how did it prepare you for your current position?
I didn’t have an internship through Pace. When I started the Pace publishing program in 2006, I was working full-time at a financial technology PR firm, so I was a part-time student. This meant classes on the weekend, evenings, and online to fit my schedule. I also happened to get my first publishing job at Random House while I was still a student in 2007 (through networking with a Pace alum!), and I continued taking part-time classes while working in publishing.
What advice do you have for current students in the program?
Make as many meaningful connections as you can with your peers, professors, alumni. Publishing is a small world. Lean into the skills that you can develop in your first job out of the program, even if it’s not the dream role you had in mind, and be vocal about your interests. There are so many opportunities out there, and you may find yourself taking an unanticipated path to get to the job that you’ve had your eye on (or find one that you didn’t realize could be a great fit).
Where do you hope to see yourself in five to ten years?
I’d like to keep working in emerging areas of publishing related to strategy and technology. If you had told me ten years ago I’d be working in consumer insights I wouldn’t have believed you (there weren’t prominent CI roles in publishing back then). The steps that I took in my roles in publicity, digital marketing, and training, combined with the changing needs in the industry, ultimately made CI a great fit. I’d like to be involved in a role that reflects how the industry is evolving, who knows how technology is going to change how we work!
What are your favorite aspects of the publishing industry?
It’s an industry full of people who are passionate about the joys, benefits, and connections of reading. I feel like we all have a common mission when it comes to storytelling. I also get to learn something new about our readers and the world through the books we publish. There’s never a dull moment.
What are you reading right now?
Right now, I’m in the “bounce back and forth” reading phase since I’m deeply engaged with politics but also reading to escape (great during a pandemic!). I’m listening to the audiobook of A Promised Land by President Barack Obama, which is a great behind the scenes look at his presidency. I love hearing how he both elevates and grounds his unique experiences. At the same time, I’m also reading The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab, about a woman who makes a deal with the devil to live forever, but the catch is that everyone she meets forgets her. I’m a huge Fantasy nerd, this came recommended by one of my best friends, who leads a sci-fi/fantasy imprint and has impeccable taste. This book is fantastic.